Friday, 19 December 2008

Lib Dem 'open primary' and desperate times....

. Charlotte Gore wants us to hold a referendum on the future direction of our party. The first question has to be why so, I will let Charlotte answer that in her own words;

"See, the way I see it is that if you can persuade people to vote for which 'version' of the Liberal Democrat party they would like in an open primary then they would almost certainly be more inclined to feel invested in the party should their side 'win' - and might vote for us again in a General Election. Who knows? No-one's ever done anything like this."

Alternatively, of course, they might not and they might in-fact, if their party loyalty lies elsewhere, vote for the 'version' of the Liberal Democrats they find least threatening to their own choice of party. Democracy by plebiscite is not always democracy and it is all to easy to see how Charlotte's plan is anthical to democracy by allowing it's subversion. It was widely reported in the US primaries for example that, where possible, Republicans would actually seek to influence the Democratic choice of presidential candidate.

Charlotte can't see why people hate the idea of non-members voting in such things well I can; members pay their dues and are obviously committed to the party on that level. What is democratic and fair about allowing members of other parties being allowed to influence the direction of our party? The short answer is nothing. It is a subversion of democracy masquerading as democracy; a wolf in sheeps clothing.

I can only conclude that Charlotte's proposal is a measure of her own political desperation....

29 comments:

wit and wisdom said...

Yup, agree totally.

Charlotte Gore said...

"I can only conclude that Charlotte's proposal is a measure of her own political desperation...."

Nice

Ed said...

Or, more likely, 90% of people wouldnt give a damn.

I'm perfectly comfortable with voters influencing party positions - its what they do at every general election (the losing parties tend to try to learn the lessons).

The problem with Charlotte's suggestion is that it would be incredibly difficult to ask the right question (I can imagine pasty faced bloggers swapping quotes from Keynes to Rand while voters with better things to worry about turned off in their millions).

And if I was outside looking in I would be tempted to say 'tell you what, you want me to trust you to run the country so why dont you figure out what you stand for yourselves and then come back and ask for my vote when you have done...'

If we want to win power we have to attract the support of 40% of the electorate - its unlikely that we will do that by seeking some form of absolute doctrinal purity.

People's Popular Front of Judea, anyone?

Darrell G said...

Ed,

You make a good point that people expect parties to lead; not follow necessarily.

However, my main quibble remains that you are diluting the rights of a politically committed membership who earn the right to democratically determaining the direction their party takes by paying their dues and making that committment in the first place.

Of course, many will be activists too so what we have here is an illusory democracy which isn't really viable...this is why I was so vociferous in opposing proposals similar to Charlotte's which were put forward by Liberal Vision.

As to your last point I totally agree...to win elections you have to build coalitions between a variety of different perspectives and interests.

Anonymous said...

I agreed until "I can only conclude that Charlotte's proposal is a measure of her own political desperation...."

Oh, grow up you stupid brat, and try to behave yourself. Your not in a nursery school, anymore!

Darrell G said...

Anon,

Question. If I was to say, for example, 'Gordon Brown going to the polls in 2009 would be a politically desperate move' then would you still feel the same??

Anonymous said...

So you think there is no difference whether you are insulting a prime minister of a private person a fellow Lib Dem blogger? Well, don't complain if you are then insulted.

Maybe there should be some age limit for blogging...

Darrell G said...

Anon,

Its not a personal insult; its a political point. The point being that Charlotte has obviously lost hope of winning the membership to her position thus the phrase 'politically desperate'.

Darrell G said...

And as an addendum I have been insulted and not complained...however you are confusing the personal with the political. The charge of political desperation stacks up to the position...just like, for example, i may well say David Cameron is a 'political opportunist' that wouldnt mean I thought he was a horrible person...if you cant tell the difference between a personal and a political point that is your problem not mine.

Charlotte Gore said...

Ed, your arguments about it being important that parties know themselves what they stand for is pretty much the most convincing argument against this idea I've heard all day. What I wish for more than anything is a clearly understood Liberal Democrat Party. How do we achieve that?

And for the record my own ideology and what I would except from a mainstream political party is not the same thing. I would imagine that the 'pragmatic liberal' option would win anyway.

Darrell for what it's worth you can think and say whatever you like about me - it's free publicity at the end of the day.

Charlotte Gore said...

doh, expect not except.

And Darrell.. disagreeing with someone and personal attacks are two very different things. I've never personally attacked you.

Darrell G said...

Charlotte,

Funny, because I seem to remember you calling me a 'thief' on one of your blog postings. However, I never protested that as being personally insulting because you were obviously trying to characterise my politics...which is exactly what I am doing here funnily enough...

Darrell G said...

The operative phrase, which I have justified in the following debate with an argument is ****political**** desperation....now i've just checked and i definatly didnt use the word 'personal'; i used the word political...kind of implies I am attacking a political position not a person don't you think??

Darrell G said...

And just for the record you worded it like this; 'You are a thief'...now I accept that this was not you saying i robbed homes etc, I accept that it was how you viewed my political stance...the fact is we are both have strong political convictions which we believe in in a heartfelt manner and are prone to the occasional use of angular language...fine, fair enough but do not invent personal slights where clearly none exist...in the above instance I am happy with recognising that you didn't mean I was robbing and actually committing crime...i think it is now down to you to do the same here :)

Charlotte Gore said...

You can rationalise your own behaviour however you like. If you feel justified in making stuff up and writing about it as if it's a fact then go right ahead.

It's not me you're damaging here.

Darrell G said...

Charlotte,

I am obviously not making stuff-up...you definatly did use those precise words which are far more specific in making a direct allegation and actually taking out politics from a debate and making it more personal than anything I say here.

What about my example?? What about the thousands of examples from politics that exist where somebody says something that characterises a persons politics and then seeks to attack their *politics* in angular language?? Have you ever watched PMQ's?? Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg accuse David Cameron of being a 'do nothing' week in and week out...i dare say the term politically desperate has been used many times before too...didnt see such a hoo-hah then; I wonder why??

Oranjepan said...

Darrell,
saying that Charlotte is indulging in desperate tactics is a pretty low blow. Can't you equivocate and say she is trying to be creative and taking a risk by publicising her ideas rather than riding the backs of others efforts (sorry, but yes, that is a slight dig at the volume of material you recycle - some of which you add an interesting slant or insight into, it must be said, but some of which is pure verbatim repitition).

I don't think we can criticise her for being imaginative, though saying she isn't being creative enough is fair because it is a criticism which can be applied to us all, all of the time.

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

It's not the publication I am calling desperate. It's the idea in and of itself; which do seem to me be based upon abandoning hope of winning the membership to the politics. So, hey lets go out and try and win the people.

What I also have to object to is the use of the language of 'democracy' to cover this; there is no colleration between these ideas and democracy.

She's not being imaginative...Liberal Visions proposals to liquidate the membership were in a simlar vein. Think thats answered all the points :).

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

On the other thing (by which I think you mean my occasional tendency to post newsy items) well put simply it's my blog and its something I do when I see something which interests me that I dont want to post additional comment on for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to be blunt i'm being lazy; sometimes I dont want to comment further because I dont have established thoughts.

For example, this afternoon i was actually on my lunch break so I just posted two items that caught my eye. Now, as you will see, I have gone onto develop my thoughts on one of those items although I use a different hook. In general, I post items I want to draw peoples attention...it's my blog and ultimately that is up to me really :)

Scott said...

Hello All

Please sign the petition to Obama to fight for open primaries in all states.

The link is on my site. www.theoside.com

Darrell G said...

Scott,

Dont think I will thanks but thanks for popping along nonetheless. I would be interested to hear what your perspective is on this debate having experience of the things under debate....

Ed said...

Charlotte

The problem for political pragmatists who have been kicking around for too long is that they end up being satisfied with 20% of the vote and not being able to offer inspirational ideas for how to make the party better understood...

I think maybe we should never allowed the working classes to vote, that might have helped.

Slightly less wearily, I think the next election is the most unpredictable for years and could offer enormous opportunities for the Lib Dems. Like Mark Littlewood and that American bloke who does the focus groups for Newsnight, I think Nick will win a lot of friends during the campaign when he gets equal coverage. Poll ratings at this stage of the game are of little relevance to the final outcome.

Oranjepan said...

Just trying to be even-handed in my criticism, Darrell. I wasn't suggesting it was wrong or that I disapproved, but that we can all do better.

"Charlotte's proposal is a measure of her own political desperation..." certainly did suggest to me that you were attcking her at least as much as the idea itself.

I actually like it when pointed arguments are drawn, but that line steps over the mark into confusing the issue.

Ed said...

PS Im not convinced that it is right to see party members as the ones who have a right to determine the views of a party.

I know it seems logical on the face of it but there are more stake-holders in a party than just the members (including 'casual' supporters who have an interest in preserving a party with a programme they can choose comfortably.) Especially as the era of mass party membership is over and there is a danger of parties being led into blind allys by activist factions.

That's why I dont dismiss a role for primaries but they have to be on clearly defined questions (eg a choice of candidate or even a particular policy).

Ed said...

alleys

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

I will go this far and no further. I *will* accept it may have confused what I wanted to say because it was a bit hurried. I *wont* accept it was a personal attack; now given that I have 'fleshed out' my argument and explained in detail what I mean by *political* desperation in this instance I dont expect people to continue to insist it was something it isnt...if they dont reply to substantive points I think it is fair of me to now say they have no substantive answers.

Incidentally, I think you were active on the thread where she said 'You are a theif' which is far more directly and obviously potential personal attack....but I never jumped up and down like this...

Oranjepan said...

Taken.

I remember the thread you refer to, but I'd say think of the motives behind behaviour before you criticise it, there may be a trap deployed.

Charlotte herself admits on this very thread that she is pleased to benefit from the free advertising provided (though I suspect nobody's skin is so thick as to be able to completely brush everything off).

Some people thrive on controversy, other prefer a more measured approach. I think both have their places where they can be employed for different purposes and effects.

What's interesting about this back-and-forth between the two of you is how you contrast on your methods and purposes, yet agree on the conclusion that only the LibDems provide the vehicle for your hopes and ambitions.

I think the two of you provide an excellent foil for each other in exposing the conflicting sides of an issue and can spark off in combination together to our mutual advantage.

So please don't take any attacks too personally, but also please don't weaken your consensual opposition.

IIRC I said something similar to you about Lord Jacobs (not that he's making many more headlines).

Maybe I should resolve to stop commenting and write my own blog...

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

Point taken. I think to be honest it does come down to what I was saying a few comments back about how we both approach politics in a strong and heartfelt manner.

I suspect this is why the issues can become blurred and the language quite heated and angular which obviously has it's pluses and minuses.

I take what you are saying on board and I agree there is interesting politics under all this...I think, if it was agreeable to Charlotte a series of structured debates, would be a good idea; in a neutral space. Structure would take some of the heat that necessarily comes from blogging (which is dependant on enviromental factors and rapid-fire responses which all lend themselves to heat and light exchanges) would be taken out of it in a structured debate....

This is why I was happy to go along with Joe Ottens proposal some moons ago (though realistically 250 words would have mitigated against the retraction of heat)....

I think you should start your own blog :)

Darrell G said...

I dont expect it to get off the ground but here is what I would propose;

5 *articles* (word limit of 1000 words) published in a neutral place, at the same time...well as close as possible anyways.

- Why I joined the Lib Dems

- State and society

-Economy

-Welfare

-What future direction the Lib Dems would take...

Sometime after Christmas ....probably into the New Year....